Friday, December 31, 2010

Slow-Simmered Black Eyed Peas & Crispy Cornbread

Slow-Simmered Black-Eyed Peas
Olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
1-2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
leaves from 1 bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bag pre-soaked black-eyed peas (I soaked mine for 2 hours)
1 quart water (or more, if the peas absorb too much)
2 vegetable bullion cubes
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 small carrot, chopped
3 Tbsp tomato paste
salt & pepper

1. Heat a little olive oil in an enameled cast iron pot on medium-low. Add the shallot to the hot oil, season with salt, and cook until translucent.
2. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme and bay leaves and cook about 1 minute.
3. Add the peas, water, bullion, tomatoes, carrot, tomato paste, salt and pepper and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to just above low, cover with a heavy lid and simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally.
4. During the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, check the water level in the peas. If the peas seem too soupy, you may want to remove the lid so more water evaporates. Likewise, you may need to add water if the mixture is too thick.  Remember that when the peas cool, they will thicken considerably.  They should be like stew.
Laurene’s Cornbread Recipe
1 egg
2 cups cornmeal mix
1 ½ cup milk
pat of salted butter

Preheat the oven and a six-inch cast iron skillet to 400 degrees F. Whisk the egg, cornmeal, and milk in a bowl until combined.  Add a pat of butter to the skillet to coat the bottom and sides (for a crisp crust), as well as a sprinkle of cornmeal (for easy removal, later).  Pour in the batter.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Both of these recipes are everything you could hope for in black-eyed peas and cornbread.  Crumble the cornbread and top with the peas... and if you're lucky enough to have tomato relish, top it all off with that.

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